Amer F. Samdani, Eric J. Belin, James T. Bennett, Firoz Miyanji, Joshua M. Pahys, Suken A. Shah, Peter O. Newton, Randal R. Betz, Patrick J. Cahill, Paul D. Sponseller

February 2016, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 795 - 800 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-015-4054-3

First Online: 07 July 2015


A prospective, longitudinal cohort was studied to determine the incidence, consequences, and risk factors of major perioperative complications in patients with cerebral palsy (CP) treated with spinal fusion. There is a wide variety of data available on the complications of spine surgery; however, little exists on the perioperative complications in patients with CP.


A prospective multicenter dataset of consecutive patients with CP treated with spinal fusion was evaluated. All major perioperative complications were identified and stratified into categories: pulmonary, gastrointestinal, other medical, wound infection, neurological, instrumentation related, and unplanned staged surgery. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify various risk factors for major perioperative complications.


127 patients were identified with a mean age of 14.3 ± 2.6 years. Overall, 39.4 % of the patients had a major perioperative complication. Occurrence of a complication [no complication (NC), yes complication (YC)] resulted in significantly increased intensive care unit (ICU) (NC = 3.2 days, YC = 7.8 days, p < 0.05) and hospital stays (NC = 7.7 days, YC = 15.6 days, p < 0.05). Variables associated with greater risk of a complication included: increased estimated blood loss (EBL) (p < 0.001), larger preoperative kyphosis (p = 0.05), staged procedures (p < 0.05), a lack of antifibrinolytic use (p < 0.05), and a trend toward lower body mass index (BMI) (p = 0.08). Multivariate regression analysis revealed an increased EBL as independently associated with a major perioperative complication (p < 0.05).


In this cohort of patients with CP who underwent spinal fusion, 39.4 % experienced a major perioperative complication, with pulmonary being the most common. The occurrence of a major perioperative complication lengthened both ICU and hospital stay. Risk factors for major perioperative complications included greater preoperative kyphosis, staged procedures, a lack of antifibrinolytic use, and increased EBL, with the latter being an independent predictor of a major perioperative complication.

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